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About Bull! Not bull and FAQs

M.A. Nystrom
April, 2005


Frequently Asked Questions
Tell me about this website.
What do you mean, "The Bull Market is Dead! Long Live the Bull Market!"
Tell me about the Bull Daily Links on the front page
Tell me about the Not Bull Daily Links on the front page
Can I contribute to this site?
Who are you?

About Bull! Not bull.
Bullnotbull.com is the result of an earlier web project called Depression2.tv that I created shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The tag line of that site, "The Second Great Depression Will Not Be Televised" paid homage to Gil Scott-Heron's angry 1960's anthem, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" and echoed the song's themes of disillusionment and mockery of the central role that television has come to play in our lives. My idea at the time was that the terrorist attacks would be the catalyst to quickly send the already vulnerable US and world economies into such an extreme contraction that it would come to be known in history as the Second Great Depression. Just as WWI was originally identified as the Great War until we had a second, even larger war, I believed (and still do) that the coming economic storm will ultimately cause historians to re-label the depressions as D1 and D2. A detailed summation of my thoughts on the subject, can be found in this article, Thoughts on a Second Great Depression.

To recap briefly, economic conditions at the twilight of the twentieth century were so similar to those that preceded the Great Depression of the 1930's that I believed a repeat of history was inevitable. But as Mark Twain has said, history may not repeat, but often times it rhymes. The rhythm and rhyme of the Second Great Depression is taking its time unfolding in a long, drawn out twang, and has so far gone mostly unvoiced. As economic conditions deteriorate, the economic pain and suffering of the middle class is being borne stoically, as Americans watch in bewilderment the Great Disappearing of the American Dream. Meanwhile, the reasons behind the real structural changes in the economy are for the most part glossed over by the corporate media. The ever-expanding gap between rich and poor yawns wider each year, but is ignored as a real issue by the politicians and media gatekeepers that instead make mountains of trivial molehills and keep the public distracted and entertained with a never ending stream of tittytainment.

But the deterioration in the balance sheets of government, businesses and individuals is very real, and when the pyramid of debt collapses we will all be in for a reckoning. As in the final line of Scott-Heron's song, the Depression will not be televised; it will be brought to you live. Fundamentally, nothing has changed since the NASDAQ collapse of 2000, and in fact, things have only gotten worse. There is more debt now at the personal, corporate and government levels than there was five years ago just as consumption is falling, the best jobs are moving overseas and interest rates are rising. These financial issues have been on the horizon for so long, and many individuals have long been silently dealing with their own financial nightmares, trying simply to keep their heads above water that there is no time or will to reflect on the gravity of the big picture situation. Storm clouds are on the horizon growing darker and darker but the people go on about their business in a state of willful oblivion. But like in the time of Noah, one day it begins to rain?

As of this writing (April 2005), the bad news is finally seeping its way out into the corporate controlled media. Stories on peak oil, excessive debt, and a bubble in real estate that were unheard of in 2001 are finally making the headlines today as a sea change in social mood seems to be taking hold. The gloom and doom that I foresaw in 2001 with Depression2 is now just dawning upon us, which means that to stay ahead of the curve, it is essential to shift gears and start looking into the future for signs of dawning optimism. Rather than wallow in the depression it is time to start thinking in a big picture way about how to work our way out of the mess that we have created of the world. Gloom, doom and Depression2 are only half of the story, and are in fact only subsets and symptoms of larger, global social problems that have to do with our fundamental ideas and attitudes about the world we have created. Western Civilization is just the current system chosen by humanity to organize itself. In a real sense, it is a huge, global fad. There have been other ways in the past, and there will certainly be new ways in the future.

Because we have created the world as it is, we can also create a new one. Imagine, for example, an America that was not dependent on foreign oil imports for its survival. How would the world be different? Or imagine a world that was based on ideas of abundance, instead of the prevailing ideas of scarcity that are taught to every freshman in Econ 101. What if the world's mentality was one of generosity and sharing, instead of scarcity and hording? This story of heaven and hell illustrates the potential of what is possible with what we already have.

The fact is that there is enough in this world for all of us, but what we have is a mentality problem as well as a distribution problem that creates severe injustice in the world that boomerangs back onto every individual. As Dr. Martin Luther King wrote in his "Letter from Birmingham Jail:"
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. . . I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be."
Our destinies on an individual and national level are indeed interwoven. As our economies become more global, as our populations become more ethnically and racially diverse, that reality becomes increasingly evident. I will be the first to admit that I don't have anywhere close to all the knowledge or answers on how to build a better, brighter, more just world. But I do know that change creates opportunity, that nothing in this world is static, and that necessity is the mother of invention. As a result, as things get worse, I have faith that the ways to a brighter future will become increasingly clear. The economy and perhaps human civilization as we know it will come under great pressure in the coming years from a depression that is nearly inevitable, and it will be up to us, collectively, to build a new world together. Endings are also new beginnings.

As we speak, there are new ideas, attitudes, technologies and concepts that could reduce our dependency on foreign oil and change our ways of looking at the world. Everything begins with an idea, new ideas are born every day, and the internet is the most powerful medium for sharing and exchanging ideas. Take a look around at the room you're sitting in and realize that everything in it, from the computer you're looking at to the room itself once began as an idea. Now realize that someone you have never met, sitting at a desk in Taipei, likely half way around the world from you, can put this idea into your head. From there it takes on a life of its own.

Ideas have power and shared ideas have the power to change the world.

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The Bull Market is Dead! Long Live the Bull Market!
What I have presented above are some of the driving ideas behind this site, Bull! Not bull. The bull market in stocks was a lot of fun, but it didn't make a real contribution to human wealth. That bull market is over. But there is always a bull market in something, even if that something is pessimism. As the economy gets worse, we will see an increase in cynicism and doom and gloom mongering. One could say that the approaching bear market is simply a bull market in pessimism. To survive such an onslaught, it will be necessary to maintain a proper attitude, a positive outlook on life and keep perspective on the truly important things in life. Always remember that the best things in life are free. Fiat money came from nothing and will return to nothing. Even if you have it, you have nothing; so if you had a lot of it but lost it, you have likewise lost nothing.

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Bull Links
The links in this section are 'good news' stories - stories about new developments in business or technology, sectors that are growing or inspirational stories about leaders or just regular people making a difference and ideas on how you can, too. In the current malaise-ridden environment, it is necessary to maintain a proper attitude, a positive outlook on life and keep perspective on the truly important things in life. Always remember that the best things in life are free. Fiat money came from nothing and will return to nothing. Even if you have it, you have nothing; and if you had it but lost it, you have lost nothing.

Submit Bull news articles here

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Not Bull Links
While the news is full of bad news, the links in this section are 'bad news' stories that are particularly relevant to your understanding of the unfolding world and therefore of your ability to survive in it. They paint the big picture of collapse in various sectors of the economy due to overwhelming debt levels, excessive energy requirements and collapsing consumption. They are counterbalanced by the Bull Links section.

Submit Not Bull news articles here

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Can I contribute to this site?
Absolutely! This site is nothing without you. I have built it to be interactive on a number of levels. First I always appreciate feedback and comments, even if I cannot respond to them all. You can email me at: bull@bullnotbull.com.

Second, I post daily links to the website that are both Bullish, and Not Bullish. Feel free to email me links anytime to post on the site. (See above)

Third, most all articles are open to comments, at least for the first few weeks. (After that I close them down so they're not overrun with spam). I encourage you to post your thoughts and ideas on the articles.

Finally, if you are interested in really expressing your opinion, you can email me an article to consider for publication on the site. You know what I'm looking for, so get your thinking cap on, your pen out and start writing!

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Who are you?
M.A. Nystrom, webmaster and editor of bullnotbull.com is a private investor and consultant currently living in Taipei, Taiwan. He earned his MBA from the University of Washington in 1994 with a specialty in International Marketing. Following his retirement from the US securities industry, he picked up the hobby of web design, a trade he now plies at his big-picture investment oriented website www.bullnotbull.com. He is an avid market watcher, Elliott Wave theoretician, and writer on all things related to human behavior. He is currently pursing his PhD degree in Technology Forecasting at National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan."

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